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Clustering and firm performance in project-based industries: The case of the global video game industry, 1972-2007

  • Mathijs De Vaan
  • Ron Boschma

    ()

  • Koen Frenken

    ()

Explanations of spatial clustering based on localization externalities are being questioned by recent empirical evidence showing that firms in clusters do not outperform firms outside clusters. We propose that these findings may be driven by the particularities of the industrial settings chosen in these studies. We argue that in project-based industries, negative localization externalities associated with competition grow proportionally with cluster size, while positive localization externalities increase more than proportionally related to cluster size. By studying the survival patterns of 4,607 firms and 1,229 subsidiaries in the global video game industry, we find that the net effect of clustering becomes positive after a cluster reaches a critical size. We further unravel the subtleties of the video game industry by differentiating between exits by failure and exit by acquisition, and conclude that being acquired is best considered as a sign of success rather than as a business failure.

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File URL: http://econ.geo.uu.nl/peeg/peeg1221.pdf
File Function: Version November 2012
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Paper provided by Utrecht University, Section of Economic Geography in its series Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) with number 1221.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2012
Date of revision: Nov 2012
Handle: RePEc:egu:wpaper:1221
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  1. Ron Boschma & Koen Frenken, 2011. "The emerging empirics of evolutionary economic geography," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1101, Utrecht University, Section of Economic Geography, revised Jan 2011.
  2. Agrawal, Ajay & Cockburn, Iain, 2003. "The anchor tenant hypothesis: exploring the role of large, local, R&D-intensive firms in regional innovation systems," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(9), pages 1227-1253, November.
  3. Cooke, Philip & Gomez Uranga, Mikel & Etxebarria, Goio, 1997. "Regional innovation systems: Institutional and organisational dimensions," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4-5), pages 475-491, December.
  4. Agarwal, Rajshree & Gort, Michael, 1996. "The Evolution of Markets and Entry, Exit and Survival of Firms," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(3), pages 489-98, August.
  5. Guido Buenstorf & Christina Guenther, 2011. "No place like home? Relocation, capabilities, and firm survival in the German machine tool industry after World War II," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(1), pages 1-28, February.
  6. Breschi, Stefano & Lissoni, Francesco, 2001. "Knowledge Spillovers and Local Innovation Systems: A Critical Survey," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(4), pages 975-1005, December.
  7. Ron A. Boschma & Rik Wenting, 2007. "The spatial evolution of the British automobile industry: Does location matter?," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(2), pages 213-238, April.
  8. Engwall, Mats, 2003. "No project is an island: linking projects to history and context," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 789-808, May.
  9. Pierre-Alexandre Balland & Mathijs De Vaan & Ron Boschma, 2013. "The dynamics of interfirm networks along the industry life cycle: The case of the global video game industry, 1987--2007," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(5), pages 741-765, September.
  10. Stephen Appold, 2005. "Location Patterns of US Industrial Research: Mimetic Isomorphism and the Emergence of Geographic Charisma," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(1), pages 17-39.
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